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Pope Francis: Benedict XVI was a great communicator of the Catholic faith

origin 1Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in the Pope Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis presides over the Requiem Mass for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on 05 Jan 2023. Michael Kappeler/dpa

Pope Francis has described his late predecessor Benedict XVI as a great communicator of the faith.

The late pontiff was a “great teacher of catechesis,” Francis said at the start of his general audience in the Vatican on Wednesday. Catechesis is the term used in the Catholic Church to describe the communication and explanation of the Christian faith.

“His acute and gentle thought was not self-referential, but ecclesial, because he always wanted to accompany us in our encounter with Jesus,” Francis said of the Bavarian-born priest who died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 95. He had resigned from the papacy in 2013.

“Jesus, crucified and risen, alive and Lord, was the goal to which Pope Benedict led us, taking us by the hand. Help us to rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living”. .

Earlier, the Argentine had appeared with worshipers, who were paying their last respects to the late Benedict as he lay in state for a third day in St. Peter’s Basilica. His funeral is on Thursday, when Italy will lower all Italian and European flags on government buildings to half-mast.

Addressing the German pilgrims, Francis said: “In the words of our late Benedict XVI, I would like to cry out to you: ‘He who believes is never alone. Whoever has God as Father has many brothers and sisters. In these days we experience in a special way how complete this pilgrim communion of faith and that it does not end even with death”.

On Monday and Tuesday, according to the Vatican gendarmerie, a total of about 90,000 people came to St. Peter’s Basilica and passed by his body.

Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch has criticized the media for its portrayal of the late pope, who has been characterized as a hardline conservative who should have done more to crack down on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

“Those who did not know the real man, theologian, priest, bishop and pope either personally or from his writings, but depended on the media image of him, took note to a large extent of the distorted clichés about him… “he told the Tagespost newspaper.

Benedict XVI’s decision to step down in 2013 for health reasons, the first pope to do so in 600 years, has increased speculation that the 86-year-old Francis may follow suit at some point due to his failing health.

origin 1Pope Francis arrives for the general audience in the Pope Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis presides over the Requiem Mass for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on 05 Jan 2023. Michael Kappeler/dpa